Staffing Shortage, COVID Safety Among Reasons Duluth Schools Extending Winter Break
The Duluth Public School Board voted to extend the upcoming winter break. The winter break was originally scheduled from December 23, 2021 to January 2, 2022. The school board held a special meeting on Tuesday, December 7, to adopt a resolution to extend the break.
Now the break will be two days longer, starting on December 22, 2021 and going through January 3, 2022. There will be no classes on those days, no staff will be working, and the schools and offices will be closed. Why the reason for the extended break?
Just like everywhere else, the Duluth Public Schools are short-staffed. When you think of school staffing you immediately think about teachers, however staffing issues extend to other areas like custodial services, food workers, transportation drivers, teacher aids, and more. Superintendent John Megas further explained the difficulties:
“With general staffing shortages, many unfilled positions and a shortage of temporary help, every position in the district has been impacted. We need to ensure that we have sufficient custodial, clerical, child nutrition, paraprofessional, transportation, support, childcare, and instructional staff to safely serve our students.”
The school also acknowledges the challenges everyone is facing during the pandemic along with the Delta variant cases in the Northland. The are planning on working with local health officials to offer testing on Monday, January 3. (That's one of the extended closed days.) They will also be working with Essentia health to administer booster vaccine shots.
Other school districts are also extending their break across Minnesota. St. Paul extended their break to a full two weeks because of similar reasons. More schools are weighing the option to extended their break as well.